It was reported this morning here that the Palestinian Authority [PA] Foreign Ministry urges the UN to protect Palestinians — from “Israeli settlement building and aggression”.
He may have a point, especially in light of two excellent pieces of reporting today by Chaim Levinson in Haaretz, the most disturbing of which, published here reveals Israeli “plans to start compiling land registry records of assets controlled by settlers [in the West Bank]…[to] bypass regular tabu land-listing processes”, which, Levinson writes, “appears designed to prevent Palestinians from appealing the validity of the ownership listings”.
Among other things, this seems to suggest a slide towards extension of Israeli civil law in the West Bank — or at least the outline of a new Israeli move to annex parts of the West Bank, which has been hinted by officials and others with increasing frequency in recent months. Some will say, though, that “creeping annexation” is nothing new.
Levinson’s other piece, as complex as the subject matter itself, is published here, and reports that “Residents of the condemned West Bank outpost of Migron have appealed the High Court to stay the demolition of the settlement’s illegal structures on Tuesday, claiming that they had recently purchased the land on which the homes were built. However, a preliminary inspection of the purported sale reveals that the Palestinian whom the settlers claim sold them the land passed away in 2011, one year before the alleged transaction”. This has happened before, but there appear to be several new twists in this case.
But, it does seem absurd for the PA to be asking the UN to protect Palestinians as its security forces beat protesters brutally on Saturday and Sunday — reportedly in violation of an instruction given by the PLO Executive Committee itself. On Satuday, plainclothes men [whose existence wass later denied, despite ample photographic evidence] attacked demonstrators who were then arrested by uniformed police in broad daylight in downtown Ramallah [and then beaten some more]. See our previous post.
And, at the same time, hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank have been arrested and jailed in recent months, either by the IDF or by the PA.
The Jerusalem Post’s well-connected defense correspondent Yaakov Katz wrote a piece, just posted here which reported that “An ongoing Palestinian Authority crackdown on crime and corruption in the West Bank, including the arrest of senior security officers, is being viewed in Israel as a milestone for the PA as it imposes its rule and authority throughout the territory”.
Katz’s piece in the JPost goes on to say that “A senior IDF officer from the Central Command said the operation was yielding impressive results and was viewed as a possible ‘turning point’ for the PA as it tries to impose its authority throughout the West Bank”. Either the same or another unidentified IDF officer even reportedly told Katz that “If effective, the operation could be used by the PA as a key argument in its bid for independence and statehood by demonstrating its ability to enforce law and order and clamp down on corruption within government and security ranks”.
Then, this JPost report adds, “The Presidential Guard, a force loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is leading the operations … While the IDF is not actively involved in the operation, it is closely following developments and has granted the PA approval to deploy additional forces in Jenin and Nablus to carry out the arrests. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has also played an assisting role in locating several Palestinian fugitives who fled from the Jenin area and returning them to PA hands”.
Now, this very same PA Security spokeman Adnan Al-Damiri — who said that no plainclothes police [despite ample photographic evidence] were involved in the repression of Saturday’s protest, and that violent individuals attacked the police and caused chaos — who was described in the JPost as “security forces spokesman Gen. Adnan Damiri” told the Israeli English-language daily that the PA arrests “would continue in order to dismantle criminal gangs in the West Bank. He said that security forces had confiscated over 100 weapons”…
According to the latest reports, the “Youth” protesters in Ramallah intend to resume their protests for a third day, later today.